Sister struggles with school district to have dead student honored at graduation

Adriana Rodriguez entered her senior year of high school battling cancer.

She was diagnosed with lymphoma in April 2015.

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Although Rodriguez was active in school and a member of the cheer squad at Robert E. Lee High School in San Antonio, her sister, Elizabeth Leos, told KSAT Wednesday she had to work hard to get her honored at graduation.

Rodriguez died in September, just weeks into starting her last year of high school.

"Adriana was a ray of sunshine. She was a great student," Leos said. "She loved going to school. One of the first things she asked when initially diagnosed was, what about school."

"It was a quick diagnosis. She was short of breath one day and she was diagnosed with lymphoma. It progressed from there, nine days later she was diagnosed with leukemia. That was probably the worst news ever."

Leos said North East Independent School District looked at Rodriguez's work and, seeing her academics were consistent, promoted her to the 12th grade with only two credits needed to graduate.

"She was expected to only miss the first six weeks of school and she never came home," Leos said. "She passed away on September 19, 2015."

When Leos and her family learned two weeks ago that Rodriguez would not be honored at graduation she wrote to NEISD, but was told there was nothing it could do.

After speaking with KSAT, Leos was able to have her sister honored at graduation.

NEISD spokeswoman Aubrey Chancellor told KSAT in a statement that inaccurate information was to blame.

"There is a provision in state law that does allow students who have passed away to receive a posthumous diploma as long as they are classified as seniors and they were on track to graduate," Chancellor said. "We have been able to determine that she does meet the criteria and we were happy to let the family know that today. Unfortunately, the principal had gotten information that wasn't exactly accurate and upon investigation she was pleased to bring that news to the family."

Although Leos and her family are happy with the result, she's disappointed she had to fight to get her sister honored by her school.

A San Antonio woman has fulfilled a promise she made to her dying sister.

Posted by KSAT 12 & on Wednesday, June 1, 2016